MILAN (AP) — Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala made a rare fashion week appearance, sitting in the front row of Dolce & Gabbana on Sunday.
The mayor's presence had the hallmark of an institutional show of support after the designers were forced to cancel a Shanghai show following comments by one of the designers deemed as racist.
The stalwart Milanese brand also faced a boycott in China, the luxury world's biggest market, and the longer term impact of the incident remains unclear. This was their first womenswear show since the controversy, which was followed by another incident involving Milan colleagues Prada and Gucci for including images that recalled blackface in their collections.
Highlights from Sunday's previews for next fall and winter:
DOLCE & GABBANA PARADE ELEGANCE
Dolce & Gabbana gave the fashion world an encyclopedic review of their artisanal credentials with an expansive show of more than 100 looks.
The seven-in-one runway show flipped through a series of well-catalogued Dolce & Gabbana themes. Designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana started with elegant suits topped with fedora hats or elaborate feathered fascinators worthy of a female Dasheill Hammett character then transitioned to chiffon and silk dresses or pantsuits with feather boa trim that exuded leisure.
The next five themes focused on patterns, textiles and color: leopard, florals, houndstooth and Prince of Wales, jewel tones then brocades. The designers, unusually, then highlighted a series of frothy bridal gowns. And the final flourish was reserved for the brand's true mainstay: beautifully tailored looks in black.
The looks played on classic, even stereotypical, roles of femininity, which remains at the heart of Dolce & Gabbana's appeal with its core consumer.
Highlights included a royal purple A-line coat with cape and bow details that popped with layers of turquoise crinoline, an all-white fitted double-breasted suit topped with a soft cashmere overcoat, a modern take on the suit deconstructed into an off-shoulder look and a black-and-white polka dot dress made voluminous by underlays worn by an Asian model. Applause emitting from a VIP front row punctuated the show.
The show titled "Elegance" opened with a video showing Dolce draping fabric on a model and hand stitching a garment that, when finished, was branded with the duo's script in Italian "Fatto a mano," or "Made by hand."
Haitian-Italian designer Stella Jean's collection for next fall and winter took a dramatic turn with a sleeker silhouette and more urban styling.
Jean said that her "bourgeois lady" is taking an updated version of a 17th-century European tour, and instead of cultural capitals, she is visiting places usually considered beach destinations — but which instead have a rich artistic tradition. By that, she referred to the naive art of French Polynesia, Haiti and the Caribbean in general.
A gray, brick and camel plaid belted trench gave expression to Jean's old continent influence and European styling. A tiered, pleated red print dress worn with a turtle neck and knee-high boots projected an easy elegance. A black laser-cut top with slit-skirt and short-shorts with a sweater with a pair of cats had youthful flair.
Jean maintained her colorful naive art prints, but with a long pencil skirt worn with a sleek high-neck blouse in seashell pink.
The color palette was more subdued than in some seasons past, including pink, green, blue, brick red gray and white.